Bone conduction earphones that monitor your health

Meet Duo, the earphones that offer so much more than your regular pair of earphones. These earphones are designed to boost the intriguing technology that is bone conduction while also using this technology to bring more to the user than just the enjoyment of music.

Taking the bone conduction technology further, Duo has an abundance of features and capabilities being crammed into its compact casing. The integrated Na+ ion sensor monitors hydrations levels and can inform the user of their metabolism. This, paired with the heart rate and blood pressure sensor, makes it an ideal companion for sporting actives! However, it’s the add-ons that really elevate Duo’s functionality; the Aid Loop uses bone conduction and wired earbuds to amplify environmental sounds in an efficient manner, whilst the Glass Adapter allows for the device to be used comfortably with glasses- something that some earphones don’t allow for!

But it’s the careful consideration to the varied target uses that really makes Duo a desirable product. They can choose if they want to stand out amongst a crowd or unobtrusively blend in by choosing the loops that best suit their individual style!

Designer: Louis Berger

About Duo

Duo is a set of modular wireless bone conduction headphones with built-in LTE connectivity. The concept builds upon the observation that more and more key features of smartphones transcend into smaller more independent health and activity focused wearable devices.

Duo looks into a future in which mobile personal computing evolved from mainly GUI based interactions into audio and motion-based interactions.

The headphones are designed to be expressive yet unobtrusive, making them a reliable, neutral tool, as well as a personal object that is customized through colors, materials and a variety of wearing options.

Volume Up, Volume Down, Dismiss

Confirm, Double Tap, Touch & Move

Heart Rate & Bloodpressure Sensor

The arteria temporalis superficialis located in front of our ears is among one of the best places to get accurate heart rare readings. Using an imaging process that not just monitors the frequency of blood flow, but also the changes in arterial volume could allow Duo to measure blood pressure with good precision.

Advanced Fall Dectecion

The two Duo drivers constantly communicate with each other, in order to understand your heads movements in space. In combination with other body-worn sensors and personalized digital movement patterns, Duo could detect falls while they happen and users using neuro haptics.

Made for You

Duo can adapt to individual tastes and demands by offering an open system that can be used with other personal accessories like glasses and headbands. The goal is to optimize the device for daily wear and all day use. Duo Loops features a variety of different colors, sensors and specific user-centric solutions.

Ear Loop

The standard Ear Loop is made from a robust, water and UV light resistant elastomer with shape memory. All Ear Loops double as antenna elements. Flexible, three-dimensionally interlocking wires inside the Loops allow for easy adjustments and an optimal fit.

Health Loop

The Duo Health Loop allows for a series of advance health tracking features. With an integrated Na+ ion sensor and with help of a digital medical reference profile, Duo could help you to keep track of your hydration, blood sugar levels or inform you about the metabolization status of your medication.

Neck & Head Loop

The Duo Neck & Head Loop are designed to have a very secure fit, made for the use during sports.

Aid Loop

The Duo Aid Loop uses bone conduction and wired earbud to amplify environmental sounds in the most effective and specific method possible. With this loop, your virtual assistant, your headphones are hearing air are combined into one device.

Glass Adapter

Wearable technology has to carefully find an individually and socially acceptable place. With the Glass Adapter, the Duo headphones can fuse with an object that you already wear. Different Adapter side frames for various types of glasses allow you to be connected without noticeably changing look.

OfficeUntitled creates comfy cabins and spacious clubhouse for luxury Oregon campground

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

An indoor saltwater pool, a fitness centre, and furnished cabins with televisions are among the offerings at this glamping site in the Pacific Northwest designed by US firm OfficeUntitled.

Billed as a luxury campground, Bay Point Landing is located in Coos Bay, a small town along the Oregon coast.

Envisioned as a “private retreat and place to connect with the sea”, the property overlooks a tranquil bay and is surrounded by sandy beaches and a dense forest.

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

The project was designed by OfficeUntitled, a Californian studio formerly known as R&A Architecture and Design.

The site has an industrial past, as it was once used to store bark waste from a lumber mill. Unsuitable for large buildings due to the marshy terrain, the property was deemed an ideal spot for camping facilities.

OfficeUntitled sought to create comfortable accommodations, while respecting the natural terrain.

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

“Preserving the bay’s natural beauty, the design clarifies the character of the 103-acre (41.6-hectare) inlet site by revealing the landscape and its history,” the team said in a project description.

“Embracing this condition, a series of smaller structures were designed as a network of communal camps.”

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

While there are plans for expansion, the campground currently offers 17 furnished cabins and 14 Airstreams, along with nearly 100 spots for drive-in caravans.

At the heart of the property is a spacious, year-round clubhouse that is lifted above the ground via a series of piers. A network of walking trails connects the different areas within the campground.

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

“These trails buffer each camp from one another, while the camps themselves offer a layered series of amenities not found in typical regional campgrounds,” the team said.

“Combining beachfront terraces and picnic areas, this mixture of outdoor access, natural beauty and community space forms a story of shared experience.”

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

The architects created two different cabins for the property – the Kamp Haus Cabin and the Drift Cabin. One has a gabled roof, while the other is flat-topped. Both are clad in distressed timber.

Rectangular in plan, the dwellings contain an open living/dining room and kitchenette, along with a bedroom and full bathroom. Modern conveniences include two televisions, wireless internet, cable access and high-end toiletries from New York’s Beekman 1802.

Fronting each cabin is a sheltered porch. Adirondack chairs, a picnic table and a fire pit enhance the experience of lounging outdoors. Cooking grills are available upon request.

The aluminium-skinned Airstreams can accommodate up to four guests. Each caravan contains a sleeping area, a convertible dinette space and a bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower. Like the cabins, the Airstreams come with a patio, a fire pit, a picnic table and lounge chairs.

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

Situated between the campsites and the waterfront is the elevated clubhouse, which is oriented to deliver sweeping views of the landscape.

“Anchoring the site, the clubhouse promotes the kind of experiences that have made this area a well-known and sought-after travel destination,” the studio said.

Roughly V-shaped in plan, the building consists of four volumes, each with different functions. One houses a saltwater swimming pool, while another encompasses a gym and showers. The others contain event space, a bar, a lounge, laundry facilities and a welcome lobby.

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

Exterior walls are wrapped in cedar shingles and large stretches of glass. Angled roofs recall the region’s traditional seaside huts, echoing “the marsh island typology”. The roofs slope in different directions, giving the clubhouse a more sculptural look.

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled
Photograph by Caleb Gaskins

“These rooftops slope upward in two directions to meet the sky, while also directing the eye toward the core of the structure,” the team said.

The clubhouse is encircled by wooden decks that offer campers a chance to mingle with other guests while taking in the coastal scenery.

Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay, Oregon by Office Untitled

“As a sanctuary by the sea, the design builds a new space to connect with nature and the bay,” the studio said.

OfficeUntitled was started in 2013 as R&A Architecture and Design. Based in Culver City, California, the firm has an eclectic portfolio of residential, cultural and commercial projects.

Among its recent projects are the Woodlark Hotel, which entailed fusing two historic buildings in downtown Portland to form a 150-room hotel that embodies “comfortable luxury with a feminine mystique”.

Photography is by Renew, unless otherwise stated.

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The Siren Hotel references Detroit's grand history says Ari Heckman

ASH NYC co-founder Ari Heckman explains how The Siren Hotel recalls Detroit’s glamorous past in this video produced by Dezeen for the AHEAD Awards.

Design development firm ASH NYC overhauled a derelict historical building in downtown Detroit with the help of Quinn Evans Architects to create The Siren Hotel.

The property was awarded the title of Hotel of the Year at last night’s AHEAD Americas hospitality awards, which were held at the Faena Forum in Miami.

The Siren Hotel in Detroit by ASH NYC was named Hotel of the Year at the 2019 AHEAD Americas awards
The Siren Hotel in Detroit was named Hotel of the Year at this year’s AHEAD Americas awards

According to Heckman, the hotel avoids the post-industrial aesthetics that have come to be associated with Detroit, instead referencing the city’s early 20th-century grandeur.

“One of our goals when we were conceptualising the hotel was to harken back to the grand hotels of Detroit of the turn of the century,” he says in the video, which was shot by Dezeen at ASH NYC’s Brooklyn office.

The Siren Hotel in Detroit by ASH NYC was named Hotel of the Year at the 2019 AHEAD Americas awards
Design development firm ASH NYC renovated the derelict Wurlitzer building to create the hotel

The hotel occupies the former headquarters of organ manufacturer Wurlitzer, designed by local architect Robert Finn in 1926 and located just off the city’s Grand Circus.

Heckman stated that ASH NYC’s purchase of the building effectively saved it from being knocked down.

“When we found the building, it was essentially collapsing from the top down,” he said. “If we hadn’t bought the building when we did and started the immediate stabilisation of the facade, the city would have ordered the building to be demolished.”

The Siren Hotel in Detroit by ASH NYC was named Hotel of the Year at the 2019 AHEAD Americas awards
The design of The Siren references the grand hotels of Detroit’s past

The design of the hotel’s interiors mixes details from the building’s past with bold colours and luxurious materials.

Very little historical detail remained in the building’s lobby, so Heckman’s team referred to an article from 1926 that described the space as it looked then in order to recreate it.

“We took creative license from what we read in this article to paint the walls this mossy green colour and then finish them in extensive panel moulding,” Heckman explained.

The Siren Hotel in Detroit by ASH NYC was named Hotel of the Year at the 2019 AHEAD Americas awards
The hotel’s interiors combine period details with modern touches

The guest rooms draw from a colour palette of navy blue and muted pink and burgundy, and were designed to offer guests “a sanctuary above the city”.

The bathrooms feature terrazzo tiles in red, green and blue variations, which the designers based on patterns that they found in the derelict site they took on.

The Siren Hotel in Detroit by ASH NYC was named Hotel of the Year at the 2019 AHEAD Americas awards
The bathrooms feature terrazzo tiling in green, blue and red variations

Amongst the hotel’s numerous food and beverage spaces is a restaurant named Albena, which represents a minimal departure from the decadent style employed throughout much of the building.

“We wanted something that felt very simple and soulful,” Heckman said. “It has an arched ceiling and plaster and natural woods and metals.”

According to Heckman, guests often remark on the escapist qualities of ASH NYC’s hotels, which also include Hotel Peter and Paul in New Orleans, winner of the Visual Identity category at the AHEAD Awards.

“People often say of our hotels, and of The Siren specifically, that they feel like cinematic fantasies,” he said. “There’s something romantic and nostalgic about it, but there’s also qualities of it that are very modern, our own interpretation of the past and the future.”

The Siren Hotel in Detroit by ASH NYC was named Hotel of the Year at the 2019 AHEAD Americas awards
The Albena restaurant represents a minimal departure in style from the rest of the hotel

This movie was produced by Dezeen for AHEAD. It was filmed at ASH NYC’s office in New York. Photography is by Christian Harder, courtesy of ASH NYC.

The post The Siren Hotel references Detroit’s grand history says Ari Heckman appeared first on Dezeen.

What is the Optimal Amount of Choice Designers Should Provide?

Designers create choices.

The working designers among you often create multiple options that non-designers must make a decision on. You present concept sketches or renderings for a client to choose between. If you work for a consumer goods company, you may be designing multiple iterations of a product, and consumers are meant to pick one of them to purchase. Tropicana offers 15 variations of orange juice; Colgate offers 47 types of toothpaste. In modern society, choice seemingly provides freedom, individualism, and ultimately, happiness.

But in actuality, having too many choices can leave people with a taste in their mouths worse than, well, orange juice and toothpaste.

End Chooser

Having choices can backfire. The 14th Century French philosopher Jean Buridan likened this to a donkey that is equally hungry and thirsty, placed equidistant from a pile of hay and a pail of water. Unable to make a rational decision to choose between the two, he stands there until he expires from lack of both. Studies show that the same paralysis hits us when faced with an overwhelming amount of choice, or having to choose between complex items, or choice that has no stark differentiators, such as the donkey’s hay and water.

Still, we stubbornly demand the option to choose. Your client’s never going to be happy with just one rendering and no options, and customers may not want Object X if it only comes in red. So what is it that really goes on inside people’s heads?

A fintech startup working on a marketplace for credit cards witnessed an interesting phenomenon during their early research. They developed a platform that guides customers to the credit card that’s “perfect” for them, by matching them with their interests or spending habits. And customers love it–up until it is time to make their final choice.

In early testing, experimental users loved it when the application automatically narrowed their choice from 25 cards to eight cards, and then to five cards. But when the app provided the single best match, customers became suddenly anxious. “Is there only one?” they remarked. “Could you show me a few more like this?” So they reverted back to wanting more choice, but as they said, “Not too much!” We are left with a paradox, where users were both attracted to and repelled by choice. And it begs the question: What is the optimal amount of choice and why?

We’re in a Jam

Consider a study from Columbia University psychologist Sheena Iyengar. Supermarket shoppers encountered two tasting stations of jam, one that had 24 flavors, the other six. While the 24-flavor station attracted the most shoppers, the smaller selection led to more sales – 30 percent of shoppers purchased jams from the smaller stand. In contrast, the 24-flavor station had a conversion rate of only three percent. Many studies since have proven that when you narrow choice, sales increase. But it is a bit more complicated that this simple conclusion, and Iyengar’s study received debate in recent years.

There is a more nuanced point: Iyengar’s study also found that shoppers were happier with their purchase when they had to decide from six options. Those who bought from the 24 choices walked away anxious, most likely because they had many more reference points with which to compare.

It turns out that when you increase the number of variations, you increase the potential that your customer will regret their choice.

This idea was further explained by behavioral economists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, who discovered that people regretted loss from an action they made, but did not regret a similar loss from inaction. This links back to the donkey and its inaction. We sometimes fall back on a decision to not choose, to do nothing at all, because we are terrified of regret, also known as loss aversion.

Live Three or Die Hard

Too much or too little choice leave users uncomfortable; the right amount of choice makes it easier for them to decide–and, importantly for brands, has them feeling great about their choice, post-decision. So what is the “Goldilocks” amount of choice? Studies show that we are able to choose effectively from no more than five options at any one time–and that three may be the magic number.

Why three? Because three provides a middle, and there is a lot of research supporting the idea that the middle item is usually the one that people pick.

When people are asked to pick a number between two numbers, they generally tend to choose a number close to the middle. And when faced with the choice of four bathroom stalls, people choose the middle two twice as often as they choose one of the outer two. Or if you offer people the choice of three highlighters, they will more than likely choose the middle one. In a row of three chairs, people will more often than not choose the middle one. And similarly in business, customers will tend to choose the mid-priced item. This is why e-commerce sites often have three pricing options—it provides a stronger prediction of what consumers will choose, and, you guessed it, it’s the middle option that is most often bought. Our attraction to the middle affects our daily decisions, our purchases, our driving routes and all kinds of other actions we make somewhat unconsciously. The phenomenon is well known to social psychologists and it has a name: The ‘center stage effect.’

Enter the Center

This center stage effect happens for physical as well as social reasons. First, physiologically, we are programmed to look at the middle first. Even when scanning a busy scene, a room, a painting, a computer screen, and presumably an industrial design rendering, we first focus on the middle or center before moving around the edges of that scene. So we tend to have a bias for the middle right away simply because we notice it more and attend to it for longer, and because of this we are already biased to choose the middle or center item.

Second, we have social norms that bias us to view the center as better. In one study, students were asked where they would sit in order for the professor to notice them and they picked center and up front. They were also asked where they would sit if they wanted to go unnoticed—and they picked the edges. We seemingly just know this, but in fact we have become socialized to think this way. Company leaders sit in the middle, at the head of a table. On teams, the last picks are usually from the edges of the group, and the least popular products are positioned on the top or bottom shelf, further out of reach. Of course there are functional reasons for this positioning, but the point is that it influences our decisions elsewhere, as in when we choose products or services.

Nothing about this process is rational; it is purely about balancing the irrational nature of decisions and respecting your clients’ or customers’ emotions.

This last point is important for all businesses to get right. Successful entrepreneurs tend to notice the things that others miss. They care about how their users feel at every step of the purchase journey. You never want to leave a customer or client feeling uncomfortable, baffled or anxious. Ultimately, understanding the irrational motivation of your end users, whoever they are, can go a long way towards determining the success of your product.

The Bouroullec Brothers Offer a Colorful, Abstract Take on Stained Glass in New Collection

The latest from French design duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec is a meditation on color, light, and scale. Their new range of architectural glass panels developed in partnership with Skyline Design debuted during NeoCon last week and took home a Silver award in the Architectural and Decorative Glass category.

The design process started with the brothers wandering around and taking photographs of what they encountered—from landscapes to kids playing on a sports field—with the aim of capturing “sensations of colors and light.” From there, they selected eight images and ran them through a computer script written by Erwan Bouroullec, which sampled all the color information in the photos and distilled it into a unique base color, while transforming the overall “rhythm” of the image into a pattern.

“That color is then further transformed by a translucent pattern layer, generating thousands of additional color iterations,” they explain. The patterns were outlined in a darker color intended to mimic the lead line that frames each panel in traditional stained glass. “As stained glass is shaped by its lead frames, the colors are shaped and reshaped by the lines of each individual pattern, their density and distribution changing almost imperceptibly.”

The Bouroullecs were inspired by the qualities of stained glass in medieval cathedrals and sought to translate that experience into their atmospheric panels, which create the sense of being immersed within an abstract landscape through their complex interactions of color and line. “The result is a sense that the glass is almost alive with a delicate pulse, capable of evoking the same sense of wonder as its medieval counterpart.”

The panes are brought to life through Skyline Design’s digital print and manufacturing processes and can be customized in size, scale, and color to fit the intended application. The collection is composed of four pattern variations—Oblique Regular, Oblique Bold, Chevron Stroke, and Chevron Fill—that are each available in four monochromatic colors or four polychromatic palettes. They can be used in interiors—as feature walls, space dividers, or stair railings, for example—or on exterior facades, railings, and canopies.

Gareth Neal on Hacking Chairs, Making at Source, and Working With Robot Arms

As happy crafting with a humble chisel as conducting a 6-axis CNC robotic arm as if it were his own limb, Gareth Neal makes the most of, well, everything at his disposal as a designer and maker of contemporary furniture.

Brodgar chair, Gareth Neal

Whether he’s using the “waste” wood of a tree, or exploring how we can better reduce the carbon impact of objects, Neal is constantly on the lookout for better way of doing things. His efforts over the past 20 years have resulted in a body of innovative and exciting work, including collaborations with the likes of Zaha Hadid. We sat down with the designer/maker to talk about everything from collaboration to woodworking:

You make furniture using a combination of traditional hand tools and digital fabrication. What do you think are the most interesting new tools, technologies and processes out there for working with wood?

The evolution of manufacturing processes or tooling is a slow process. Rather than the question of what machinery is out there, I’m asking questions about what I can do with processes to talk about the relationship between hand and machine. So I’m looking into machines that help me make some sort of connection or continue this dialogue between the distance you get on a CNC machine or a digital technology and that close relationship you get with hand tools, and trying to find machines that enable that.

My latest work is perhaps my fascination at the moment with what I can achieve with these robotic arms. I feel that they’re relatively unexplored because there’s not that much access to them.

The Hack Chair from Petr Krejcí on Vimeo.

You’ve said one of your missions is, “To explore how digital technologies are perceived and how they do have craft within them”. Do you think the CNC will be looked back on in decades, centuries or perhaps millennia as fondly as the chisel, or do you think we overly romanticize the chisel?

At the end of the day, things are superseded continually. We want the latest iPhones and the latest computers because they offer us the best ability to do things, and I think it’s the same with tooling. You want the latest tooling because it opens up more opportunity with what you can achieve and the speed you can do it, and often the accuracy. CNC is just an extension of the toolbox—they just happen to be very big bits of kit.

Gareth uses a 6 axis CNC robotic arm alongside traditional tools. Photo credit: Petr Krejci

So what role and benefits are there to being taught and retaining hand-making and drawing skills when it comes to being a designer/maker for the future?

The most powerful tool is really the pencil. That’s where it all begins, and it’s the simplest of things. What I’ve experienced is there’s absolutely no point in going straight to a CNC machine with an idea. That’s not necessarily going to result in a new and fresh perspective on furniture by using the latest technology, because with all tools it’s about understanding how they work.
You get really good at using a traditional tool, and it takes years to master certain tools, so I think it’s the same with a CNC machine. I think they’re all just as valid tools, and ultimately the most important thing is to have a go at mocking these things up and sketching them and trying to do it as cheaply and efficiently as you can.

I’m not interested in owning a CNC machine. I’m more interested in owning lots of hand tools so I can mock up and play around and computer model, and when I’m ready I’ll do some sampling on a CNC and then I’ll commit to making it.

The subtle art of timber selection. Photo credit: Petr Krejci

You’ve explored making furniture in the woods, through the craft of Bodging and Windsor chair making. It may seem utopian, but do you think it’s possible to make products and furniture at a production scale in woodland in a way that’s sensitive to nature? Or is “making at source” only the reserve of small scale batch production or one-offs?

If you look at some of the Swedish factories, they’re based right next to their woodlands. It’s slightly romantic to think we’ll all be using pole lathes again, but actually to be able to base your factory in the center of your well-managed woodland is a very sensible idea because it cuts out so many of the trappings of the production line—the raw material to the processing plant, it takes out all of those equations.

But it takes somebody with a lot of capital to achieve that with any degree of running a successful business. And I do hope making will return to that kind of way. I do think there is a passion for reducing the carbon footprints of objects and finding ways to do so. To build at source is a way of doing this.

Gareth Neal turns his designer/maker talents to stone

You don’t currently use synthetic materials in your work, but would you be open to using new, responsibly made and environmentally sustainable synthetic materials in your work?

Yeah absolutely. I think I only got stuck using wood. I wanted to be a furniture designer and didn’t necessarily want to be a woodworker—that just happened to be the byproduct of the course I did, and some of the skills I picked up. And I had a bit of a natural ability to make things. I wouldn’t say I’m a great maker, I just happened to pick up that set of skills. I’d absolutely love to play with other materials. I’ve just done some stone and cast metal things. What I don’t want to do is things that suddenly stick out like a sore thumb.

George cabinet, Gareth Neal. Photo credit: James Champion. Video here.

You often blend or juxtapose traditional and contemporary aesthetics. You’ve developed that theme in a number of your pieces including your early Anne table and George chest and Hack Chair. Both evoking a strong sense of the past and the future. As a designer looking back, what are the most interesting periods and pieces in furniture making through the ages?

I don’t understand why papier-mâché furniture didn’t kick off and why we didn’t continue with that. I’ve always thought that would be a great one to get back on with because it’s essentially recycled wood pulp. There was a big period of papier-mâché furniture you can see at the V&A museum, and they’re beautiful objects, super strong, really lightweight, made of paper. What could be a better credentials package than that? So that’s one area I’ve thought I’d like to do something around.

Egyptian furniture, obviously they made some groundbreaking bits. The first chair, that’s always exciting isn’t it. I really dislike heavy oak solid furniture. For me English furniture design only really started to get good after 1730 because it became lightweight, less chunky and more delicate.

Hack chair, Gareth Neal. Photo credit: Petr Krejci

Your latest series “Hack chair” explores the past and the future. You mentioned previously that, “This object is like a glitch in history. It questions and challenges technique, the future and the past”. Can you tell me how that project came about and why you chose the process you did?

What I discovered is that the furniture industry and the material we use on those chairs is the most undesirable bit of the tree, which is actually the heart of a tree. Flawed with splits and often used for firewood. So what you get in these timber yards are these knotty, gnarly pieces of timber that people don’t want to turn into planks because they’re not very clean and they’re full of flaws. So they are the discarded bit of furniture making in some ways. So I thought there was something quite poetic about that.

Strikingly scorched. Photo credit: Petr Krejci

And by buying it green you’re completely removing the drying process of the carbon equation, so that’s another nice element to it. Green wood has got a very high moisture content. It’s very wet, so while you’re CNC’ing something it’s moving. Or after it’s been CDC’d it moves. So it basically takes a process that is all about perfection and introduces imperfection. That’s what I wanted to capture—that relationship between the unknown and the known, so the object has those flaws and those glitches and those moments when actually you can’t really think, “How did they do that? Was that really done on a CNC machine because that’s not square that’s not straight? That’s flawed. Why would you do that?” So all those little bits are what drove me to doing it. When it comes off the machine it still needs a lot of handwork, and it changes when it comes of the machine. It’s matured in a way that’s quite special.

I like the idea that the imperfections are where the beauty lies, and are one of the ways to make a connection with people.

Ves-el, Gareth Neal and Zaha Hadid. Photo credit: Petr Krejci

Ves-el, Gareth Neal and Zaha Hadid. Photo credit: Petr Krejci

You enjoy collaborating with other designers and brands—architect, Zaha Hadid for a tableware project, and a chair for Glenlivet. What have you learned about yourself as a designer working in collaboration?

There was a time when I was slightly more ego driven, thinking that I knew it all, and I wouldn’t want anyone else’s input because I thought I knew. And then I realized that I didn’t and that the more you open yourself to others working, you can actually create better things.

Glenlivet is different, that’s a commercial project with me doing something for the cash. But the Zaha one was definitely something I questioned whether I should do or not, but of course if Zaha Hadid offers you an opportunity then you do it. But these objects wouldn’t be, and wouldn’t look like they do, if it wasn’t for that input or for that contact. The Ves-el wouldn’t be the Ves-el if it wasn’t for using their computer technology and me sitting in their offices. It adds extra dimension to your work. And it’s really enjoyable working with others when you’ve been working with yourself for such a long time. The Orkney chair wouldn’t be the Orkney chair if it wasn’t for Kevin Gauld.

Ves-el, collaborative project with Zaha Hadid. Photo credit: Dan Medhurst

The creative constraints and benefits of working with someone else is fine. But there’s a point at which control ultimately has to sit with one individual. Do you find you need that?

Yeah I think you probably know that most of the projects are where I think I’ve got the bigger say. I think I’m well equipped enough as a person to communicate that to them in order to get it to the place that I’m happy with it.

Jack cabinet, Gareth Neal. Photo credit: Petr Krejci

When you were just starting out, who were you looking to as a designer?

I guess Ron Arad and Tom Dixon were very much in the limelight of furniture at that time around 1993. Philippe Starck was there and of course I came across John Makepeace. I didn’t like John Makepeace’s work, but I was aware of it.

But I like to think that I wasn’t necessarily inspired by furniture, but would get more inspired by creating a feeling or an emotion or picking up on architecture. I mean I loved Calatrava when I was at uni, and I liked hippy values of people building green properties, and I read books like Places of the Soul. I was getting a lot from that, but it’s not really furniture.

If you get into studying too much furniture you end up copying it, which I suppose is inevitably what I’ve ended up doing with some eighteenth and seventeenth century bits of furniture.

Orb salt and pepper grinders, Gareth Neal

Tableware for Case, Gareth Neal

Do you have any other pieces of furniture that you’ve seen or you hold up as great pieces?

Loads of them. I’m continually envious of other people’s work. From production designers to the dead to the living, there’s so much good design out there. Hans Wegner is obviously someone that when you look at those chairs you just think, that’s perfection.

Max Lamb, my contemporaries, I think they’re so good. Peter Marigold. Amazing thinkers with materials. There’s so many and I get excited when I look at other people’s work. Even look at Russell Pinch, he’s a big brand but very well designed stuff. Very simple, very pure, very lovely.

Some of Gareth’s sketches of the George cabinet

What’s on your drawing board right now?

I’m mocking up a sideboard for the New Craftsman. We’ve just prototyping an extension to the straw furniture range. We’ve got some more CNC Ves-el and a couple more pieces from the Hack series we’re looking at. A few things on the go.

What advice would you give to any designers who are starting out around now?

Well one of the things that I heard from Wendell Castle actually, now that he’s passed away, he always said “the lazy dog finds no bones”. I think that’s a good one really. You’ve got to get out there and get on it.

Pratt Institute Prompts Students to Design the Ultimate Future Bathroom

What will bathrooms look like in the future? American Standard, one of the leaders in bathroom and kitchen development teamed up with Pratt Institute students to create “Future Bathroom 2025.” As the name suggests, they created a vision of what the future bathroom will look like in the not-so-distant future.

The project highlights water conservation as a main feature of the bathroom. Grey water, the term to describe the relatively clean-used water from showers, sinks, washing machines etc., is reused from the shower to power the toilet, which would save around 14 gallons of fresh water a day per person. The ability to use grey water for your toilet exists, however, grey water cannot sit stagnate for more than 24 hours (though let’s be realistic, I hope you use the bathroom at least once per day). As a precaution for this, the water would be treated with phytoremediation.

Baths can use around five times more water than a shower, so to solve this problem, the team created a reclining seat in the shower—a way to relax without using the gallons of water needed to fill the bathtub. Lovely details like air plants hang on the walls, and a light show imitates the sun to visualize the length of your shower. The future of bathrooms is looking bright.

The bathrooms would come in as a prefabricated unit that would require much less hard labor and time to install than a current bathroom takes. It comes with customizable options so that each future bathroom can be uniquely your own.

This concept was presented in May 2019 at Wanted Design in Manhattan and included a full-sized prototype with visual research panels that explained important details.

Foster + Partners unveils Uber Air Skyport for Santa Clara

Uber Elevate by Foster Partners

British architecture firm Foster + Partners has revealed plans to build an Uber Air Skyport in a new neighbourhood in Santa Clara.

Foster + Partners‘ skyport would part of a new housing and commercial development that the firm is designing for developer Related Companies in Santa Clara – a city in California’s technology hub Silicon Valley.

The Santa Clara Uber Air Skyport proposal foreshadows the commercial launch of Uber Air, the app-based flying taxi service that Uber plans to launch in 2023.

Santa Clara Uber Air Skyport to be “integrated hub”

Revealed by Uber Elevate, the company behind Uber Air, and Related Companies, it is designed as a new hub for the city that will accommodate Uber’s fleet of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOL).

“The way we move is constantly evolving,” said Foster + Partners head of studio Stefan Behling. “The skyport is an integrated hub that offers people the choice to change from one mode of transport to many others.”

Foster + Partners’ design aims to create a seamless connection between departing and arriving, and allows for a number of flight operations at the same time. It also includes a flight deck that can charge up to five eVTOL aircrafts at a single time.

Design provides model for future aerial ride-sharing hubs

Renderings of the design show a curvaceous, gridded glass roof covering over the hub, with glass walls and doors creating a seamless transition from inside and out.

Inside, part of the roofline merges down with the ground, creating a funnel-like gridded pillar inside. More private rooms nearby are also enclosed with glass.

Uber Elevate says the conceptual scheme showcases “what aerial ride-sharing hubs could look like in the future in the Bay Area”.

Uber Elevate by Foster Partners
Foster + Partners’ skyport proposal for Santa Clara is topped with a undulating roof

Images also reveal a minimal departing and arrival area featuring curving dark seats and with low back coffee tables. Floors are also dark and merge with the ground outside.

It is believed the skyport will link with the central highway in the new Santa Clara neighbourhood, which is intended to serves as a “major traffic artery” for both air and car traffic. It also divides a swath of office buildings on one side from housing and commercial structures opposite.

Foster + Partners among number of firms designing skyports

“Urban mobility will change dramatically in the coming years and the challenge will be to find the right solution that can enable the many different types of electric, AI-led, sustainable modes of transport to complement each other, whether they are above, on or in the ground,” said Behling.

Since 2016, Uber Elevate has been working with government and industry stakeholders to create the world’s first aerial rideshare network. It plans to be an alternative to transporting people across cities via car, and claims air travel costs will be “the same price as an UberX trip of the same distance”.

Foster + Partners are among a number of leading architecture firms that have developed conceptual proposals for these “skysports“, including Shop Architects and Gensler.

Santa Clara’s hub will join other locations that are set to open in Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas in the next few years.

The announcement of the skyport follows news that Uber Elevate is partnering with Related Companies as the developer of the hubs. The collaboration will see Related develop Uber Air Skyports across the US for commercial aerial ridesharing.

Renderings are by Foster + Partners.

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Reader Submitted: 'The Coral' Introduces Humans to the Benefits of Growing Micro-Algae at Home

‘The Coral’ is an indoor micro-algae farm designed to rebuild a relationship with algae, critical for sustainability yet less appreciated, in our everyday lives. This wall-mounted bioreactor proposes a daily ritual for algae consumption for a sustainable alternative of nutritional diets. The Coral also highlights algae’s environmental benefits through a symbol of revitalizing coral from ‘coral bleaching.’ Besides, the representation augments an indoor experience, allowing us to welcome the algae farm at home for aesthetic purposes. The Coral suggests a socially acceptable way of bringing algae, which helps us take one step forward to a better sustainable way of living.

The Coral suggests a more sustainable way of living by bringing algae into our everyday lives.
Credit: Hyunseok An

Its sculptural front presents the lively patterns of corals, highlighting algae’s environmental importance as well as providing an ever-changing aesthetic experience.
Credit: Hyunseok An

The medium in culture cells turns green as algae grow (1/3)
Credit: Hyunseok An

The medium in culture cells turns green as algae grow (2/3)
Credit: Hyunseok An

The medium in culture cells turns green as algae grow (3/3)
Credit: Hyunseok An

Each of its 16 culture cells can grow algae for the amount of recommended daily intake, allowing us to replenish and harvest algae continuously in a bi-weekly cycle.
Credit: Hyunseok An

The Coral soaks up CO2 in the air, and each valve on the bottom can control air flow to each cell.
Credit: Hyunseok An

Once the medium turns dark-green, algae can be harvested through a simple filtration process.
Credit: Hyunseok An

Each cell is sitting on a grid wall by a neodymium magnet attachment.
Credit: Hyunseok An

By algae grow, the color in the cell turns from transparent to shades of green.
Credit: Hyunseok An

View the full project here

Michelin and GM to bring airless tyres to cars

Michelin is partnering with General Motors to bring its airless tyre prototype to the roads, potentially saving 200 million punctured car tyres from the scrap heap annually.

The two companies aim to develop Michelin‘s UPTIS (or Unique Puncture-proof Tire System), which promises to eliminate both the waste and the danger that comes from a flat or blown-out tyre, so that it can be used on the road by 2024.

Michelin and GM to bring airless tyres to passenger cars

The tyres feature a complex internal architecture made from carefully engineered materials that remove the need for compressed air to support the vehicle’s weight.

They are so tough that Michelin says they will require a “near-zero” level of maintenance. The main benefit is that this will reduce the number of tyres scrapped due to punctures – a number that Michelin estimates at 200 million worldwide annually.

That’s not counting the manufacture of spare tyres, which UPTIS would also make redundant.

Michelin and GM to bring airless tyres to passenger cars

Michelin announced its research partnership with General Motors (GM) earlier this month at Montreal’s Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility – the same event at which it first unveiled the UPTIS prototype under the name Vision two years ago.

The next step will be to test the prototype on GM’s Chevrolet Bolt electric cars. The companies aim to introduce the tyres onto some GM passenger vehicles in 2024.

Michelin and GM to bring airless tyres to passenger cars

Michelin is also positioning the technology as a good fit for large fleets of shared vehicles, which it sees as the likely future of mobility.

“The vehicles and fleets of tomorrow – whether autonomous, all-electric, shared service or other applications – will demand near-zero maintenance from the tyre to maximise their operating capabilities,” said Michelin.

Michelin and GM to bring airless tyres to passenger cars

UPTIS is an evolution of Michelin’s current tyre technology, which it calls Tweel – a combination of the words “tyre” and “wheel”. With Tweel, a spoke-like internal structure bears some of the vehicle’s load. In UPTIS, this architecture can bear all of the load — including at highway speeds.

Materials innovation has also been key. The prototype tyres are made from a composite rubber and high-strength resin-embedded fibreglass.

Michelin is not the only tyre company that is rapidly innovating. Earlier this year, Goodyear showed off an airless concept called Aero, which tilts to turn into a propeller for flying cars. This followed Oxygene — its oxygen-producing moss tyre concept.

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